Dodge has been throwing playful barbs at Volkswagen for nearly two years in Charger ads that target the Passat in punchlines.
Yet Dodge insists it has no sinister intentions in the commercials.
Dodge has released five spots since November 2013 poking fun at VW’s family cruiser with its signature attitude.
Why has Dodge singled out the Passat? It wanted to choose a competing brand and vehicle that were polar opposites of them.
Dodge initiated the rivalry in November 2013 with the “Poster” ad, which shows the Charger emerging from a cloud of dust while the narrator says no one had a Passat poster on the wall as a kid.
Dodge released several more ads in the following months, including one that enlisted Richard Rawlings, star of “Fast N’ Loud” on the Discovery Channel.
In “Not So Fast and Furious,” Rawlings and his computerized monkey partner cracked down on a Challenger driver who was passed by a Passat. The duo pulled up in a Charger in the spot, which was released in March.
VW could only sit back for so long before responding.
VW countered in April with a Passat TDI commercial that appears to jab at the Chrysler 300’s fuel economy while subtly poking the Charger as the diesel-powered Passat zooms by it.
Dodge struck back in June with a second version of its “Morse Code” Charger spot, in which the Dodge brothers tell Passat owners through flashing lights, “I’d rather walk than drive your car.”
Staff Reporter Vince Bond Jr. spoke with Randy Ortiz, 34, head of Dodge and SRT brand advertising, about Dodge’s playful rivalry with VW.
Q: How did this start?
A: It started back in 2013. We launched a spot called “Poster.” Going head to head with the competition in ads is nothing new to the industry. It’s been done for years. We just wanted to find a different way to create an “us vs. competitor” ad instead of just going spec for spec, comparing horsepower or mpg or something like that. We just looked for a competitive brand and a competitive vehicle that was a polar opposite of ours. We thought Passat would be a great fit for an idea like that. Dodge and Volkswagen are two very different brands; and Charger and Passat are two very different vehicles with different demographics in terms of consumers. We just wanted to create something that was playful and lighthearted and have a little fun. It’s taken off from there.
Dodge vs. Volkswagen
In the beginning, were there any other cars you considered besides the Passat?